DocuSign has been granted a patent for a system and method for computable contracts. The technology involves managing contract formation and execution stages through a contract management system accessible by involved parties. The system utilizes object components and a contract object graph, with variations including peer-to-peer negotiation and interface with distributed ledgers. GlobalData’s report on DocuSign gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on DocuSign, Smart Contracts was a key innovation area identified from patents. DocuSign's grant share as of January 2024 was 43%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Computable contracts management system with object components and execution environment

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: DocuSign Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11887055B2) outlines a method for managing contract documents within a computing system. The method involves translating the contract document into a data representation comprising object components, assembling a contract object graph from these components connected via hash linking, and terminating the formation stage upon execution of signatures from involved parties. Subsequently, during the post formation stage, the method includes executing the contract object graph by receiving data-initiated contract state updates and appending updated object components to the graph accordingly. The contract object graph is structured as a directed acyclic graph, with clause objects including natural language, executable, and hybrid clauses.

Furthermore, the patent details the process of referencing elements of the contract object graph in distributed ledger transactions, driving code execution on a distributed ledger system from the graph, and managing the formation stage by exchanging cryptographically signed commits between involved parties. The method also encompasses receiving various types of state updates, such as data-initiated, party-initiated, and hybrid updates, each resulting in altered logic within the contract object graph. Additionally, the execution of the contract object graph involves cryptographically validating data-initiated state updates and can be carried out through a decentralized computing infrastructure. The system and computer-readable storage media described in the patent enable the implementation of these contract management operations within a computing environment accessible to involved parties through a computer interface.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.